Protective Effects of a Polyphenol-Rich Blueberry Extract on Adult Human Neural Progenitor Cells

Molecules. 2022 Sep 20;27(19):6152. doi: 10.3390/molecules27196152.


The aging process impacts neural stem cells and causes a significant decline in neurogenesis that contributes to neuronal dysfunction leading to cognitive decline. Blueberries are rich in polyphenols and have been shown to improve cognition and memory in older humans. While our previous studies have shown that blueberry supplementations can increase neurogenesis in aged rodents, it is not clear whether this finding can be extrapolated to humans. We thus investigated the effects of blueberry treatments on adult hippocampal human neural progenitor cells (AHNPs) that are involved in neurogenesis and potentially in memory and other brain functions. Cultured AHNPs were treated with blueberry extract at different concentrations. Their viability, proliferation, and differentiation were evaluated with and without the presence of a cellular oxidative stressor, dopamine, and potential cellular mechanisms were also investigated. Our data showed that blueberry extract can significantly increase the viability and proliferation rates of control hippocampal AHNPs and can also reverse decreases in viability and proliferation induced by the cellular stressor dopamine. These effects may be associated with blueberry's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and calcium-buffering properties. Polyphenol-rich berry extracts thus confer a neuroprotective effect on human hippocampal progenitor cells in vitro.

Keywords: blueberry; human neural progenitor cells; neurogenesis; neuroprotection; proliferation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Blueberry Plants*
  • Calcium
  • Dopamine
  • Humans
  • Neural Stem Cells*
  • Neuroprotective Agents* / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Polyphenols / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Polyphenols
  • Calcium
  • Dopamine